Nearly 1/3 of world's cacti species facing extinction
October 12, 2015 08:36 AM - University of Exeter

Thirty-one percent of cactus species are threatened with extinction, according to the first comprehensive, global assessment of the species group by IUCN and partners, published today in the journal Nature Plants. 

This places cacti among the most threatened taxonomic groups assessed on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ - more threatened than mammals and birds.

Swedish sand lizards like climate change
October 11, 2015 07:32 AM - BioMed Central via ScienceDaily

Higher temperatures result in Swedish sand lizards laying their eggs earlier, which leads to better fitness and survival in their offspring, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

The findings indicate that climate change could have positive effects on this population of high-latitude lizard, but the authors warn that climate change is likely to affect a whole suite of traits, in addition to egg-laying date, which together would have an unknown combined effect on survival and reproductive success.

Ecotourism can put wild animals at risk
October 9, 2015 01:59 PM - UCLA Newsroom

Ecotourism, in which travelers visit natural environments with an eye toward funding conservation efforts or boosting local economies, has become increasingly popular in recent years. In many cases it involves close observation of or interaction with wildlife, such as when tourists swim with marine animals. Now, life scientists have analyzed more than 100 research studies on how ecotourism affects wild animals and concluded that such trips can be harmful to the animals, whose behaviors may be altered in ways that put them at risk.

Why Elephants Rarely Get Cancer
October 8, 2015 12:58 PM - University of Utah

Why elephants rarely get cancer is a mystery that has stumped scientists for decades. A study led by researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah and Arizona State University, and including researchers from the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation, may have found the answer.

Chernobyl considered unlikely nature reserve for some species
October 8, 2015 08:47 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

When you think of Chernobyl you probably think along the lines of “nuclear disaster” and a “no-go” area, but new research shows that with humans now absent from the region, several mammal species including wild boar and wolves, are increasing in number in this most unlikely nature reserve.

Arctic butterflies adapt to warming climate by getting smaller
October 7, 2015 06:39 AM - AARHUS UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert!

New research shows that butterflies in Greenland have become smaller in response to increasing temperatures due to climate change. 

It has often been demonstrated that the ongoing rapid climate change in the Arctic region is causing substantial change to Arctic ecosystems. Now Danish researchers demonstrate that a warmer Greenland could be bad for its butterflies, becoming smaller under warmer summers. 

Researchers trace how birds, fish go with the flow
October 6, 2015 09:16 AM - New York University

Fish and birds, when moving in groups, could use two “gears”—one slow and another fast—in ways that conserve energy, a team of New York University researchers has concluded. Its findings offer new insights into the contours of air and water flows--knowledge that could be used to develop more energy-efficient modes of transportation.

Are fish the greatest athletes?
October 5, 2015 03:45 PM - ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

When you think of the world’s greatest athletes, names like Usain Bolt generally spring to mind, but scientists have discovered the best athletes could well be found in the water, covered in scales.

It turns out that fish are far more effective at delivering oxygen throughout their body than almost any other animal, giving them the athletic edge over other species.

Noise pollution harms wildlife, degrades habitats
October 5, 2015 09:11 AM - Shreya Dasgupta, MONGABAY.COM

Traffic noise is just another inconvenience for many of us. But for wildlife, noise from honking, and zooming vehicles can often be an insidious threat: it can degrade habitats without leaving any physical evidence of change, warns a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Road noise — even in moderate levels — pushes migrating birds away from their stopover habitats, researchers from Boise State University in Idaho found. Those that stay back become weak.

“I was initially surprised that even moderate road noise — comparable to a suburban setting — would have such a wide-ranging impact on migrating birds,” William Laurance, a professor at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, who was not involved in the study, told Mongabay. “On reflection, however, I guess such migrators have to be hyper-vigilent about noise, as they’re constantly moving to new areas where unseen predators could be lurking.”

Could Mealworms Help Solve our Styrofoam Waste Problem?
October 2, 2015 03:16 PM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

Plastic waste is out of control in this country, and Styrofoam is one of the worst offenders. Americans toss out 25 billion Styrofoam cups each year. Over two million tons of the stuff ends up in landfills, where it does not biodegrade. Scientists think they may have found a solution for our Styrofoam problem, though: feed it to the worms!

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